CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers offense are finally in a groove. Too bad for Carolina it's a case of too little, too late.
At 4-9, Carolina's playoff aspirations evaporated several weeks ago, but Newton's vastly improved play in recent weeks gives promise that his stellar rookie season with the Panthers in 2011 was far from a fluke.
After a rough start this season, Newton has tallied 1,363 yards from scrimmage with 11 combined touchdowns and no turnovers in the past four games.
Carolina piled up 365 yards total offense in 2 1/2 quarters Sunday against NFC South champion Atlanta and built a 23-0 lead and held on to upset the Falcons 30-20.
Newton and the Panthers look to continue their improved play next Sunday at San Diego.